February 6-12, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Ephesians 4:14.
Study Help: Acts of the Apostles, 546–556.
Introduction: “The Lord will not compel men to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God; He sets before the human agent good and evil, and makes plain what will be the sure result of following one course or the other. Christ invites us, saying, ‘Follow Me.’ But we are never forced to walk in His footsteps. If we do walk in His footsteps, it is the result of deliberate choice. As we see the life and character of Christ, strong desire is awakened to be like Him in character; and we follow on to know the Lord, and to know His goings forth are prepared as the morning. We then begin to realize that ‘the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896.
“We Deceive Ourselves”
1 How does John describe those who claim to be Christians but continue to live sinful lives? 1 John 1:6.
NOTE: “This is the class whom the apostle rebukes; for he says, ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ It is evident that where a claim to sinlessness is made, there the law of God has not been written in the heart; for the commandments of God are exceeding broad, and are discerners of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The apostle speaks words of encouragement to those who realize that they are sinners, and says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ ‘If we say we have no sin,’ when our thoughts, words, and actions, reflected from the law of God, the great moral mirror, reveal us as transgressors, we make God a liar, and prove that His word is not in us.’” Signs of the Times, April 30, 1896. (See The Sanctified Life, 68.)
2 Though Job was described by God as a perfect man, what was his estimate of himself? Job 9:20, 21.
NOTE: “Those who triumph, and claim that they are sinless, show in this very boasting that they are far from being without the taint of sin. The more clearly fallen man comprehends the character of Christ, the more distrustful will he be of himself, and the more imperfect will his works appear to him in contrast with those which marked the life of the spotless Redeemer. But those who are at a great distance from Jesus, whose spiritual senses are so clouded by error that they cannot comprehend the divine character of the great Exemplar, conceive of Him as altogether such an one as themselves, and talk of their own perfection of holiness with a high degree of satisfaction. They really know little of themselves, and less of Christ. They are far from God.” Life Sketches, 211.
3 What precious promise is given to those who confess their sins? 1 John 1:9; 2:1, 2. (See also Micah 7:18, 19.)
NOTE: (See Acts of the Apostles, 552.)
“If We Keep His Commandments”
4 How does John emphasize the importance of obedience to the Commandments? 1 John 2:3, 4.
NOTE: “Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while willfully violating one of God’s requirements. The commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God.” Maranatha, 232.
“It is true that there are many who have never had the light of present truth, who, through the grace given them of Christ, are keeping the law as far as they understand it. Those who are
thus living up to the best light they have, are not of the class whom the apostle John condemns.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition., 227. (See Acts of the Apostles, 562, 563.)
5 What will be the effect on the character of the Christian who seeks to keep God’s Word? 1 John 2:5.
NOTE: “John did not teach that salvation was to be earned by obedience; but that obedience was the fruit of faith and love . . . If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in the heart, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God. The sanctified heart is in harmony with the precepts of God’s law.” Acts of the Apostles, 563.
“Through Jesus there is divine sympathy between God and the human beings who, through obedience, are accepted in the Beloved. Thus humanity conforms to the will of divinity, fulfilling the words, ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.’ The commandment-keeping people of God are to walk in the sunlight of Christ’s righteousness, their countenances expressing cheerfulness and thanksgiving, joyful in the assurance, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’” Review and Herald, May 3, 1898.
“Love not the world”
6 What choice lies before the Christian? 1 John 2:15, 17. (See 2 Timothy 4:10, 11).
NOTE: “Mark had become willing to follow the Master in the path of self-sacrifice. Now, sharing the lot of Paul the prisoner, he understood better than ever before that it is infinite gain to win Christ, infinite loss to win the world and lose the soul for whose redemption the blood of Christ was shed. In the face of severe trial and adversity, Mark continued steadfast, a wise and beloved helper of the apostle. Demas, steadfast for a time, afterward forsook the cause of Christ. In referring to this, Paul wrote, ‘Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world’ (2 Timothy 4:10). For worldly gain, Demas bartered every high and noble consideration. How shortsighted the exchange! Possessing only worldly wealth or honour, Demas was poor indeed, however much he might proudly call his own; while Mark, choosing to suffer for Christ’s sake, possessed eternal riches, being accounted in heaven an heir of God and a joint heir with His Son.” Conflict and Courage, 349.
7 What will happen to those professed believers who are not in harmony with the truth? 1 John 2:19.
NOTES: (See Testimonies, vol. 6, 400.)
“Hereby We Know . . .”
8 What is the evidence that a person is truly born again? 1 John 3:9, 10.
NOTE: “God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation.” Sons and Daughters of God, 297.
“God has made ample provision that we may stand perfect in His grace, wanting in nothing, waiting for the appearing of our Lord. Are you ready? Have you the wedding garment on? That garment will never cover deceit, impurity, corruption, or hypocrisy. The eye of God is upon you. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We may conceal our sins from the eyes of men, but we can hide nothing from our Maker.” Review and Herald, December 13, 1887.
“God never places before us a requirement without giving us the power to perform it. He never asks us to take one step in advance of Him. He leads the way, and we are to follow after. Following Him, we are in no danger of going astray. Thus only can we perfect a Christian character as stewards of the grace of God.” Review and Herald, June 22, 1905.
9 What does John say is the foundation of a Christian’s assurance? 1 John 3:18–21.
NOTE: “Do not settle down in Satan’s easy chair, and say that there is no use, you cannot cease to sin, that there is no power in you to overcome. There is no power in you apart from Christ, but it is your privilege to have Christ abiding in your heart by faith, and He can overcome sin in you, when you co-operate with His efforts . . . You may be living epistles, known and read of all men. You are not to be a dead letter, but a living one, testifying to the world that Jesus is able to save.” Our High Calling, 76. (See Acts of the Apostles, 551.)
“We Ought Also to Love One Another”
10 Against what further self-deception does John warn us? 1 John 4:20, 21.
NOTE: (See Acts of the Apostles, 549.)
11 What assurance do we have that those Christians who live to see Christ come will be conformed to His character? 1 John 3:2, 3.
NOTE: “We desire to follow Christ and to be like Him; but we sometimes faint beneath trials, and remain at a distance from Him. Sufferings and trials bring us near to Jesus. The furnace consumes the dross and brightens the gold. At this time I was shown that the Lord had been trying us for our good, and to prepare us to labor for others; that He had been stirring up our nest, lest we should settle down at ease. Our work was to labor for souls; if we had been prospered, home would be so pleasant that we would be unwilling to leave it; trials had been permitted to come upon us to prepare us for the still greater conflicts that we would meet.” Christian Experience and Teachings, 114.